Fairhome to invest an initial £25m in public provision in Northern Ireland
Specialist social care developer Fairhome Group have announced a £25m investment in the Northern Ireland care sector as part of its plans to bring a new funding model to the province.
The group has been working with major stakeholders for the last nine months to create an investment package for the development and provision of care facilities and services.
Fairhome Group has worked with representatives from the province’s five health trusts and various leading health care experts to replicate the group’s privately funded model in Northern Ireland.
The group is now working with funders to provide investment for new care facilities. It will then develop the properties, via new build or redevelopment of existing buildings, and then work with housing and care providers to manage the assets for the long term.
The initial £25m will be invested in a number of schemes across Northern Ireland, with the first set to open shortly in Belfast. The group is now setting up an infrastructure in Northern Ireland with offices already identified.
Fairhome executive chairman John Russell said the investment marked a significant step for the care sector in Northern Ireland, which had struggled in recent years to attract private investment and has faced cuts in grant funding.
“The big challenge the care sector in Northern Ireland has faced is bringing in investment,” said Mr Russell.
“We firmly believed from the start that our model could be adapted to work in the province.
“Key to this was creating a scheme that gives certainty to investors and at the same time demonstrates value for money for the public purse. The Housing Executive knew this would involve working with strategic partnerships which we have done successfully elsewhere in the UK.
“We have spent a considerable amount of time refining and testing our model and we now have a plan that will bring in substantial investment across the province over the coming years.
“We view the £25m funding as just the start of a long term investment and development of high quality care facilities by the group and our partners in Northern Ireland. The Housing Executive has been extremely supportive of our plans and we look forward to developing our relationship.”
Professor Peter Roberts, interim chair of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, said Fairhome had been very open in their approach to looking at options to help to develop the care sector and had understood clearly what is needed in Northern Ireland.
“They recognised early in our discussions that they would need to create a bespoke model that suited Northern Ireland’s circumstances and needs,” said Prof. Roberts.
“We believe they now have a model that will provide high specification modern facilities. This initial £25m investment represents the start of a new approach and will bring long term benefits to the sector.”